All the Pittsburgh stars greeted him with open arms on social media. A limo picked him up from the airport and he was plopped in front of the microphone to face a gaggle of media. He dutifully answered each and talked about his excitement being the leader of this pitching staff.
It obviously didn’t work out.
We saw him pitch his first game and when he loaded the bases with nobody out, fall back on his strikeout stuff to escape the situation. Only lasting 5 innings, but most of us chalked it up to nerves in his debut or commended him for the bulldog effort. The other starters stood in the dugout posing like archers as he struck out batters.
We didn’t know his debut was foreshadowing of his entire tenure as a Pirate.
Chris Archer never really found it here. On top of already struggling to adjust to things physically changing with him and his game, he was dealing with a new pitching philosophy being shoved down his throat. At some point he started to push back on the pitch to contact stuff but it didn’t come until he tried to be a good soldier for as long as he could stomach and by then, much of Pittsburgh had seen enough.
Still we were all prepared to give him another chance, and so was the new GM, but injury took the opportunity away from Archer and the writing for what just took place was on the wall.
Chris is well known league wide for being one of the nicest guys there is and is involved in the community like few manage to be. After spending fewer than 4 months in Pittsburgh he jumped into a mercy trip to Puerto Rico with Francisco Cervelli because helping people was a huge part of what made Archer happy.
His time in Pittsburgh was marred by poor coaching, poor performance and injury, piled on top of a bonfire that was burning under the surface even before the trade was completed. When the trade was made, Many saw it as the Pirates finally trying, for once we got the star trade chip. For once Neal wasn’t overvaluing his prospects. And we got him for 3 more years!
Soon the excitement of seeing him come to Pittsburgh was replaced by anger about how he performed and direct comparisons to how the players moved for him performed. It became something that he’d never live up to under this contract, in this town.
I could list off all his stats and start arguing why this was the exact right move for the Pirates, but I feel no need to kick a truly nice man on his way out of town. The pressure of living up to the name Chris Archer here just wasn’t going to happen.
I truly hope Chris is healthy and performs the way he thinks he can at his next stop but man, it was imminently clear it wasn’t going to happen here. Today at 5 was the deadline for deciding on this and no I won’t rule out the club trying to find a way to get him to take less and stay, but I truly think through little fault of his own he is a constant reminder of failure and a really bad trade. In other words, it might be best for both parties to just let this go.
I suggest we all put this behind us and wish Chris Archer luck in his future endeavors.